Religious parties inching towards election alliance

ISLAMABAD: –  Religious parties’ leadership is inching towards evolving consensus on formation of a religious parties alliance as all the component parties of defunct Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) considered it vital for their effective role in national politics.

Following the broader consensus on bringing the religious parties on one platform to make them a formidable electoral force, a technical committee with representation from all the component parties was formed to devise a power-sharing formula among the members.

A source in the JUI-F informed that the technical committee in its first meeting had addressed most of the issues and would be meeting again on November 8 to prepare a final draft of agreement among the component parties on seat adjustment and other nitty-gritty of the agreement.

The driving force behind the whole exercise was Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) and Jamaat-i-Islami leadership which so far remained instrumental in bringing other stakeholders closer and finally a month ago the religious parties leadership, a six-member technical committee was formed at the residence of JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman to work out a blueprint of the future alliance of the religious parties.

Jamaat-i-Islami central leader and member of the technical committee Liaquat Baloch informed that the committee had held its first meeting which concluded at a positive note while it would be meeting again on November 8 to finalise its report along with recommendations and would table it in the meeting of the heads of the religious parties scheduled on November 9 at Jamaat-i-Islami headqauarter Mansoora, Lahore.

The committee comprising Liaquat Baloch, Ramzan Tauqeer, Shafiq Kasuri, Akram Durrani and Anas Noorani would be preparing a report on inclusion of other religious parties in the future alliance as in MMA some six mainstream religious parties were in alliance. The committee would also come up with sharing of tickets in various districts and divisions across the country.

Sources in the committee informed that it was not decided yet whether the new alliance would operate under the name of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal or it would function under a new nomenclature.

When asked whether the parties, part of governments in centre and provinces, would quit their respective governments before joining the alliance, a source in the JUI-F said that it would be a trivial issue before the greater cause of uniting religious forces on one platform.

Previously, talks on the revival of the religious parties’ alliance did not take off as JUI-F was not willing to leave the federal government while it was the demand of the Jamaat-i-Islami and some other political parties that before formation of any such alliance the religious parties which were part of any government must walk out of it.

The religious parties’ huddle, which was held at the residence of Fazlur Rehman, was attended by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith head Prof Sajid Mir, JUI-Sami chief Maulana Samiul Haq and Islami Tehrik leader Allama Sajid Naqvi and leaders of some other religious parties.

The sources said that there was a greater realization among the leaders that bringing religious forces at one platform was need of the hour as united they could turn into a formidable force to serve the cause of Islam and ideology of the country in a real sense.

To a question, a source in the Jamaat-i-Islami said that the six-member coordination committee was empowered to decide on taking more religious parties and groups into its fold.

The MMA , which was formed ahead of the 2002 general election, had exhibited remarkable results in the polls. The alliance formed the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the then NWFP, single-handedly and a government in Balochistan in alliance with PML-Q besides securing the position of the leader of opposition in the National Assembly.

The MMA comprised of six religious parties — the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam- Fazl, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Tehreek-i-Jafaria Pakistan, the Jamaat-i-Ahle Hadith and the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz.

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